Spring Victories

June 1, 2023

We have much to celebrate at PATH this spring! We have helped ensure several victories that address some of the key equity issues in our community. Thank you to each and every person who sent emails, testified, showed up at the County Council, engaged people in your congregation and community, or attended political meetings to help us accomplish this much. It made a real difference!

Lakefront Library Update

The County Council unanimously approved funding to continue the planning of the Lakefront Library! This new library will provide more access to essential resources for all in our community, from our preschoolers to our pioneers. This approval also allows for 240 more units of housing at the Merriweather District site, when the original library plan only called for 60 units of affordable housing! The campaign is not over, but this is significant progress. 

We look forward to continued engagement with the County Administration, Housing Commission, Library System, Community Developer and other stakeholders.

Increased funding for Affordable Housing

PATH leaders testified at multiple hearings with the County Council in support of an additional $10M in the affordable housing trust, which the Council approved. We are disappointed that the funding was put into contingency, but are hopeful that it will provide affordable housing for many additional families in our community. 

Prenatal care for Uninsured Moms

The Howard County Council unanimously approved the budget, which includes $1.7M in funding for the maternity partnership program! This will allow Chase Brexton and Howard County General Hospital to continue providing prenatal care to uninsured moms. 

Millions for Energy Savings for Low-Income Residents

PATH, in collaboration with our sister organizations in Maryland, AIM and ACT, supported the Low and Moderate Income Efficiency legislation. This will bring millions of dollars for weatherization and other energy savings to low-income residents in Maryland. This funding will lower energy bills for 32,000 low-income households each year and lower energy bills for all 450,000 low-income Marylanders over 13 years. This will help address the inequities facing low-income households who unfairly shoulder a large share of the energy-cost burden.

Complete Streets Policy

May 24, 2023

PATH was glad to be part of the press conference announcing Howard County being recognized as the first jurisdiction in the United States to receive a perfect score for its Complete Streets Policy by Smart Growth America. PATH has partnered with the Horizon Foundation on this campaign for the past several years in making this vision a reality. First Baptist Church of Guilford led PATH in organizing to win sidewalks, access to public transportation, and bike lanes to provide connection for their historic African-American community through community walks and advocacy with the County Executive and County Council.

“PATH and First Baptist Church of Guilford want to make sure the Complete Streets Policy is not only seen on Guilford and Oakland Mills Road, but throughout Howard County,” said Pastor Tyrone P. Jones.  “We are thankful, and we plan to keep up the work.” Rev. Jones is featured in this video commemorating this success.

PATH was happy to learn that the Council supported County Executive Ball’s proposal for an additional $13.2M to expand complete streets, including an additional $1.2M for Guilford Road bike and pedestrian improvements. PATH leaders testified for and supported this funding at the Council budget hearings this spring.

Organizing for Democracy

May 1, 2023

This May over 60 leaders from 9 different local organizations gathered in Washington, DC for the Organizing for Democracy’ Gathering! Along with organizers, our philanthropic allies from Community Change, The Meyer Foundation and The Hill Snowdon Foundation gathered as well. The collective goal for the gathering focused on deepening relationships, learning from other organizers, allies, and funders about the larger ecosystem of social change, reflecting on our shared values, and identifying the shared commitments and resources necessary to formally launch our emerging collective. Our goals were lofty and, although we have a lot more work to do, we were able to move forward on each of them. 

The gathering included a learning lab where we wrestled with our core lessons about power and solidarity in ways that create freedom, justice, and joy for all people.There were presentations from Jeff Parcher that helped us to examine the current crisis of our democracy and a public conversation with Dorian Warren, the Co-President of Community Change, about why broad-based community organizing is so important to meet this historical moment. We also spent time in various research actions meeting new allies and potential partners who can help strengthen our local organizing and build a more powerful collective.

From our time together, we learned that there is an incredible need for a dynamic and creative organizing collective like ours that is rooted in the best traditions of community organizing and is committed to adapting the craft to meet our current reality. Individuals are neded at this time who are willing to imagine, conspire & collaborate together while discerning to meet this moment in history ina meaningful and powerful way.

Together we practiced democracy in action as we began to create a message around our shared vision, mission, and values. We also collaboratively discussed the practical next steps required to continue to build a healthy internal infrastructure. The need for designated staff and leadership in this interim time to support the launching of our new collective came out of those conversations. 

Photo credit: David Choy

The Formation Team, made up of representatives from each of the organizations, will re-gather in late June to report on the locals’ decisions so we know the resources available to continue to chart our path forward. As participants journeyed back to our home states, cities and counties, they did so with a renewed sense of connection and imagination for organizing. Organizing  that is locally rooted and nationally relevant as we strive to meet this moment in history for our democracy. We are energized and excited about the future we are building together!

Campaign for New Library and Affordable Housing

April 20, 2023

Act now! We need you! For this vision to become a reality, the Council needs to hear widespread support for this vision and plan.

The Downtown Plan

In 2016, Howard County launched a private-public partnership to build 6,400 housing units to fulfill the plan to create a walkable and vibrant downtown Columbia. PATH led and won a multi-year initiative to ensure that the plan included 900 units of affordable housing plus more amenities. 

In March, County Executive Calvin Ball unveiled a plan for a world class library becoming the physical and cultural center of Columbia, and a plan to develop a minimum of 240 units of housing in downtown, 120 of which would be affordable to seniors, teachers, and others who work but cannot afford to live in Howard County.

This plan also includes a significant portion of state and private funding to benefit our community. Our state legislators and the Gov. Wes Moore have all supported the plan.

Will this compete with the schools?

Funding for these projects are in the Capital budget and cannot be used for ongoing costs (including staff) for the schools. Funding from private and state sources cannot be used for anything else. 


  • The library will bolster and support students from pre-K through Community College 
  • Affordable housing for firefighters, seniors, teachers, and others

What can I do?

1. Attend a County Council Meeting Join path to show our support for the library and housing at the council hearing May 11, 9:30am at the George Howard Building 3430 Court House Dr, Ellicott City. Council meets in the Banneker Room (1st floor).

2. Call the County Council at (410) 313-4001

3. Email the County Council Click the link below — or scan
this QR code— to send an email to the County Council:

Great Climate Action in Annapolis with Senators and Delegates

March 7, 2023

50 leaders from PATH, our sister organizations, and Interfaith Power and Light met with Delegates and Senators from Howard County and across the state to push for funding to improve low-income housing, get off fossil fuels and lower energy costs for low and moderate income residents.

Leaders shared their stories of how respiratory illness has affected their families and communities in a time when we are learning that 12.7% of childhood asthma in our country is caused by gas stoves.

We will keep you updated with the next steps in our campaign for this session!


January 31, 2023


Worker’s Rights and Core Teams 

Following the re-launch of our Countywide Action Team in the fall of 2021, we began this year by strengthening our core teams within our institutions. We listened, hosted half a dozen relational meeting trainings, and recruited new leaders. Core teams are a key part of healthy organizing. They allow us to disperse information and be truly democratic so that all institutions can give informed consent before we take action together. Simultaneously, we put these values into practice by working with the Unite Here Local 7 Union to get the County Council to pass emergency legislation to protect workers’ rights. About 20 leaders doorknocked in the freezing cold and collected over 50 postcards raising awareness about CB-10, a bill meant to require all employers to offer anyone laid off due to the pandemic the first chance to return to their job. Although the bill passed, it was ultimately watered down by an amendment that exempted contractors, meaning the Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel owner could contract out employees and avoid giving jobs back to the workers who were let go due to COVID. We won jobs for many, but the fight for the Merriweather workers still continues and we encourage you all to maintain the boycott until all hotel workers are able to return to their job.

We officially separated from the Industrial Areas Foundation to forge a new PATH and explore participation in another burgeoning national network centered on justice, equity, and inclusion.

Additionally, we sent 220 letters to the Council encouraging them to keep the $5 million in the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, the funding for the new Central Library, and the $6 million for the New Cultural Center construction without putting them into contingency. We were successful in achieving two out of three and will be testifying this coming year to ensure the construction of the new Library and the affordable housing attached to it stays on schedule. PATH leaders worked with the County Executive’s office, Councilmembers, and other key stakeholders to win on these issues, while also keeping the development of affordable housing at the Banneker Fire Station site on track when it was in danger of being delayed. 


Primary Elections 

Throughout the spring, we prepared for the primary and general elections by working with other Statewide leaders from ACT and AIM. We held three successful virtual actions in June with primary candidates for Governor, Comptroller, and Attorney General of MD and District 4 Councilmembers. Our leaders developed questions about the issues directly affecting us and our community, strategized on how to ‘pin’ politicians, and turned out over 500 people total to all the actions! We raised awareness about the importance of our local elections, especially for the school board.


Affordable Housing, Climate Justice, and General Election

After our successful actions in the primary elections, our leaders kept up the energy for the general election. We gathered with our Statewide partners to plan an action with Gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and Comptroller candidate Brooke Lierman. Our leaders pulled out all the stops to confirm the candidates’ attendance and we gathered a momentous turnout. We had performances from a youth choir, a poet from Arts on the Block, and over 645 people (between Zoom and in person) representing our communities’ interests. Both candidates agreed to work with us on our most pressing issues: safe affordable housing, environmental protection, and universal pre-K. We’re looking forward to holding them to these commitments when they take office.

In September, we also began exploring a campaign to reduce our reliance on dirty energy sources, including methane (“natural” gas). The use of methane for heating and in stoves causes respiratory illness (some estimates are that over 12% of asthma is caused by gas stoves) and releases methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere. 

electrification in Howard County. Some of our members highlighted the potential impact that switching from gas heat to electricity could have on Maryland’s climate goals. Our affiliate Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) was measuring methane leaks around the District and NO2 levels in homes as a result of burning gas. We decided to do similar research for ourselves, taking in-home measurements and training leaders to use the detecting devices. We saw scary high levels of NO2 and collaborated with Our Housing Action Team met monthly to learn more about affordable housing policy and strategize the best approach for increasing access to affordable housing throughout the County. Right now we have an opportunity to encourage the General Plan, HoCo By Design, to prioritize several strategies that would increase different types of affordable housing, increase transit options, and make our county more walkable and livable. This could help us to reach some of our bold goals for affordable housing so that people can thrive at every age and every stage in Howard County, as well as reduce our carbon footprint. 


2023 General Plan & Statewide/National Network

In December, two of our brilliant leaders testified at the County Executive’s first budget hearing for 2024 and shared their stories demonstrating the urgent need for more affordable housing. This year, we plan to continue testifying in support of affordable housing developments, specifically when it comes to tailoring HoCo By Design. 

Finally, after such successful collaborations working on Statewide issues, we hope to continue working at that level with our sister organizations, ACT and AIM. We will be co-creating a new national network, developing our own training, and forging ahead formidably to build power in Howard County and beyond. 

600+ AIM, ACT, and PATH Leaders Gather for Statewide Candidate Action

On Thursday, October 20th, 2022, 645 people joined together at Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church in Odenton, MD and online for a substantive conversation with candidate for Governor, Wes Moore, and Comptroller, Brooke Lierman.

AIM (Action in Montgomery), ACT (Anne Arundel Connecting Together) and PATH (People Acting Together in Howard) organized the event. All three organizations are multi-racial, inter-faith, and non-partisan community-based organizations representing over 70 faith congregations, schools, and non-profits across the state of MD. All candidates for the office of Governor & Comptroller polling at 10% and above were invited.

After hearing stories from leaders with all three organizations, both candidates voiced their support to work on the top priorities named by ACT, AIM, and PATH.

Candidate for Governor Wes Moore confirmed that if elected he would:

  • Expand universal pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds in MD.
  • Create a baby bonds program. This is a strategy for investing in youth born into poverty
  • by providing an account for each to use when they reach adulthood for school, starting
  • a business, buying a home or other priorities for economic advancement.
  • Creating a Healthy Home program to ensure that at least 40% of the funds that the state
  • will direct towards energy efficiency and clean energy are directed to low-income communities and available to multifamily housing.

Candidate for Comptroller Brooke Lierman confirmed that if elected she would:

  • Update the state’s 529 college savings program to increase enrollment of low-income families and make it more accessible to families’ whose first language is not English.
  • Use the Comptroller’s role on the Board of Public Works to create additional affordable housing.
  • Ensure that the Climate Solutions Now Act, which requires Maryland to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and address climate change, would be implemented equitably so that lower income Marylanders gain the benefits of these new changes.

The loudest message of the night was the promise of a good working relationship between AIM, ACT, and PATH and both candidates if elected. Moore affirmed his eagerness to work with the three community-based organizations if he is elected saying, “It’s not that I want to work with you, I need to work with you. I will need you as I prepare for the legislative session, work with local jurisdictions. If we stand united, we can’t lose. I’m going to need you every step of the way.” Both candidates committed to meet personally with leaders from AIM, ACT, and PATH every 6 months, if not more frequently.

District 4 Candidate Responses

Our leaders hosted the Candidates for Howard County Council District 4 Representative in June for an exciting action. You can find the questions we asked and each candidate’s responses below:

Do you support the development of affordable housing in Downtown Columbia and throughout Howard County?If so, how would you ensure the current, already approved plan for the renovation of Downtown Columbia (including the addition of 150 units of affordable housing in the Banneker Fire Station and the Central Library renovation projects) remains on track to be completed within the current timeline?

In previous forums, you have publicly stated your support for protecting the Liberty Act. Can you describe what specific steps you will take to guarantee the rights and protections of immigrant families in the County if the voters do not uphold the Act?

What specific steps do you plan to advance health equity throughout the county and decrease inequities in access to things like healthy food, public transportation, and affordable health care? Are you in support of expanding the SNAP program among other farmer’s markets in addition to the one that exists?

Will you commit to meeting with PATH and attending another action like this if you make it past the primary, and commit to meeting with us quarterly if you become a Councilmember?

Candidate Janssen Evelyn
Candidate Hank Boyd
Candidate Deb Jung (incumbent)

Action: Support the East Columbia 50+ Center

People Acting Together in Howard (PATH) and the Community of Owen Brown urge you to show up and show out for the funding of the East Columbia 50+ Center!

For years, the 50+ Center in East Columbia has been overlooked for renovations while the county has diverted resources to every other area. All residents of Howard County, no matter their race or socioeconomic status, deserve to have a safe, spacious facility for their community to use.

Attend our action next Friday, April 30 at 3 pm at the East Columbia Library and 50+ Center parking lot (6600 Cradlerock Way) to hear from key leaders in the community, watch special performances, and participate in some of the Center’s many offerings. We will be following COVID safety protocols outside and encouraging people to attend on Zoom or drive-up as well.

This is a tangible way to support equal distribution of resources in our county in an area that has been repeatedly underfunded. We hope to see you there!